Navigation Links
Tooth plaque provides insight into our prehistoric ancestors' diet
Date:7/16/2014

A new study may provide evidence that our prehistoric ancestors understood plant consumption and processing long before the development of agriculture, according to a study published July 16, 2014 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Stephen Buckley from University of York and colleagues.

Evidence of plant consumption before the adoption of agriculture is difficult to find; such evidence is meaningful for understanding how much prehistoric people knew about the ecology and potential therapeutic properties of plants. Scientists in this study extracted and analyzed chemical compounds and microfossils from dental calculus (calcified dental plaque) from ancient human teeth at Al Khiday, a pre-historic site on the White Nile in Central Sudan, Africa. One of the five sites at Al Khiday is predominantly a burial ground of pre-Mesolithic, Neolithic, and Later Meroitic age remains. As a multi-period cemetery, it can provide us with a useful long-term perspective on any materials recovered there.

The authors chemically analyzed dental calculus samples from 14 individuals in the three different periods and found that humans ingested a certain plant, purple nut sedge, for at least 7,000 years, during both pre-agricultural and agricultural periods. As a good source of carbohydrates with potential medicinal and aromatic qualities, purple nut sedgetoday regarded as a nuisance and considered to be the world's most costly weed formed an important part of the prehistoric diet. In addition, the ability of the plant to inhibit a certain type of Streptococcus may explain the unexpectedly low level of cavities found in the population. According to the authors, the research suggests that prehistoric people living in Central Sudan may have understood both the nutritional and medicinal qualities of purple nut sedge as well as other plants.

Lead author Karen Hardy, said: "By extracting material from samples of ancient dental calculus, we have found that rather than being a nuisance in the past, the purple nut sedge's value as a food, and possibly its abundant medicinal qualities, were known." She added, "We also discovered that these people ate several other plants, and we found traces of smoke, evidence for cooking, and for chewing plant fibres to prepare raw materials. These small biographical details add to the growing evidence that prehistoric people had a detailed understanding of plants long before the development of agriculture."


'/>"/>

Contact: Kayla Graham
onepress@plos.org
PLOS
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Huge tooth fossil shows marine predator had plenty to chew on
2. A tiny, toothy catfish with bulldog snout defies classification
3. Bacterium and fungus team up to cause virulent tooth decay in toddlers
4. Targeting cancers sweet tooth
5. Alligator stem cell study gives clues to tooth regeneration
6. New evidence on how fluoride fights tooth decay
7. UF researcher describes new 5-million-year-old saber-toothed cat from Florida
8. Fluoride in drinking water cuts tooth decay in adults
9. Medicinal toothbrush tree yields antibiotic to treat TB in new way
10. Evidence contradicts idea that starvation caused saber-tooth cat extinction
11. Saber-toothed cats in California were not driven to extinction by lack of food
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Tooth plaque provides insight into our prehistoric ancestors' diet
(Date:4/5/2017)... -- The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces the ... and dynamic digital window into the human cell. The ... of deep learning to create predictive models of cell ... growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell Explorer ... available resources created and shared by the Allen Institute ...
(Date:4/3/2017)... WASHINGTON , April 3, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... single-cell precision engineering platform, detected a statistically ... cell product prior to treatment and objective ... highlight the potential to predict whether cancer ... prior to treatment, as well as to ...
(Date:3/29/2017)... -- higi, the health IT company that operates the largest ... , today announced a Series B investment from BlueCross ... new investment and acquisition accelerates higi,s strategy to create ... health activities through the collection and workflow integration of ... and secures data today on behalf of over 36 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... The latest generation of ... of sample prep for metals digestion—the addition of acids and reagents. The accessory ... The system is ideal for any laboratory performing their own unique metals digestion ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... , ... September 19, 2017 , ... VetStem Biopharma ’s CEO and founder, Dr. ... PhD in Riordan’s new book "Stem Cell Therapy: A Rising Tide". Dr. Harman and ... They bonded over an interest in the potential of stem cell therapy and a ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... -- ValGenesis Inc., the global leader in Enterprise Validation ... strategic partnership with VTI Life Sciences (VTI). This partnership ... the latest technology available in the ValGenesis VLMS system. ... and cost-effective validation services using ValGenesis VLMS. VTI will ... system. The partnership ...
(Date:9/19/2017)... ... September 19, 2017 , ... ... Financial Services (NYS DFS) cybersecurity regulations have transitioned into full force ... organizations operating in the state (“Covered Entities”) to conduct an annual, professional, ...
Breaking Biology Technology: